Why do all graphics cards put the GPU on the "bottom" of the card?!

joecool

Platinum Member
Apr 2, 2001
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ok, so maybe in some boxes it's not really the bottom, but in any upright case the current location of any GPU on the card is on the bottom, or facing downwards. this seems dumb for several reasons:

- since there will probably be other cards located in the PCI slots that are below the AGP slot, the GPU and attached fan will have restricted airflow & therefor run hotter. locating the GPU on the top of the card would place a large open space directly above the GPU, thus lots of airflow and better cooling!

- with the cool new colored and designed HSF's, they are completely impossible to see when located on the bottom of the card!

the one guess i can make is that in some systems the GPU/HSF combo might interfere with other components on the mobo, but i would think this could be solved by placing the GPU on the "outside" (away from the connectors) edge of the card. plus, the height of the GPU/HSF is already pretty minimal, since there has to be room for another card to be in the slot directly below it.

your thoughts on this weighty matter?
 

BoomAM

Diamond Member
Sep 25, 2001
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thats i good point that is.
most people know that heat rises upwards, so it would make more sence to place the cards contents on the "top" of the card for the sake of cooling.
also, if you were to mod the card with a Orb, then it would not block a PCI slot.
plus, most cases have an exhaust fan above the graphics card, so with the components on "top" it would cool them better

i think this would apply to all types of expansion card. AGP/PCI/ISA/AMR/CNR ect;

i THINK that the reason for this is that originally, PCS were all in desktop cases, so the location of chips and stuff didnt matter to the extent that youve said.
 

AnAndAustin

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Apr 15, 2002
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I thought this was simply the way in which the original AGP specification was designed, it really makes no sense to me at all, I've often wondered about this and never asked ... probably one of those things that is ... "Well, that's the way it's always been ..."
 

AmdInside

Golden Member
Jan 22, 2002
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I don't know why they chose it this way but I know it is part of the AGP spec so all companies must comply to this spec.
 

joecool

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Apr 2, 2001
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hmmm ... so, if it's just an archaic holdover from some ancient spec ... any chance we can get 'em to drop it?!

i sure would like to actually be able to SEE that pretty HSF on my spiffy new vid card thru my spiffy new window ... !
 

zsouthboy

Platinum Member
Aug 14, 2001
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Actually the reason PCI and AGP slots face downward is so you don't force them into an ISA slot(which is moot now, no ISA slots on most mobos, finally)..... so probably the "next slot specification" whatever it may be, will be faced "upwards"....


I think you could build an AGP card that still conformed to spec and still faced the other way.....

gimme a minute...

create a "box" out of the card, with the excess space(the "height" of the card, or how close you are able to get next to the next PCI slot) the inside of the box.... then you could have the gpu facing outwards, and you would still be conforming to the AGP spec...... it would be a royal PITA to actually build, however, because you would have to design a new machine to make the PCBs(8 layers in box form? PITA)

there are my thoughts on the subject.

zs
 

joecool

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Apr 2, 2001
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Originally posted by: zsouthboy
Actually the reason PCI and AGP slots face downward is so you don't force them into an ISA slot(
huh? what keeps me from sticking a pci or agp card in an isa slot is that the connectors don't match up - it's got nothing to do with the orientation of the chips on the card (believe me, without realizing it i tried it once!)

 

gururu

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Jul 16, 2002
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Yea, that has bothered me too. one of the problems with having a chip up though is that the fans will be sucking air off the hot cpu heat sink, perhaps doing more harm than good to the gpu. regardless, i'd prefer it if i could both see the card (the three headed dog of ati's9700 will not be visible) and save a pci slot.
 

tenoc

Golden Member
Jan 23, 2002
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Less dust on GPU heatsink, fan, other components.

Dust falls down, not up. Most of the time. ;)
 

Zim Hosein

Super Moderator | Elite Member
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Nov 27, 1999
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Originally posted by: tenoc
Less dust on GPU heatsink, fan, other components.

Dust falls down, not up. Most of the time. ;)
Interesting point tenoc, does anyone here know someone who works for a video card company :confused:
 

Peter

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Oct 15, 1999
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Back in the days, the PCI slots were designed to be face-down so one could have a "shared" PCI-ISA position where you could either stick a PCI card or an ISA one. It didn't matter much then either, because everybody had desktop cases, and also because the stuff didn't consume nearly as much power as today's cards do.

AGP then followed the PCI approach, mainly because with the short allowed stub length on the card, the chip pinout must be a close match of the connector pinout - and when AGP started out, many chips were used on both AGP and PCI cards. Had AGP been flipped back over, the chip makers would have had to make mirrored flavors of their devices.

regards, Peter
 

merlocka

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Nov 24, 1999
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but i would think this could be solved by placing the GPU on the "outside" (away from the connectors) edge of the card

The GPU's are placed close to the connector edge of the card to reduce trace length for AGP timing requirements. The longer the traces are the more trouble you can get into with the design.

As far as the things facing downward, my guess is that it was a combination of 1) being able to share a ATX case slot with an ISA connector and that 2) back in the day when everyone was thinking about this stuff most PC's were "horizontally" orientated, so there was no upside down.
 

joecool

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Apr 2, 2001
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far as the things facing downward, my guess is that it was a combination of 1) being able to share a ATX case slot with an ISA connector and that 2) back in the day when everyone was thinking about this stuff most PC's were "horizontally" orientated, so there was no upside down.
yeah, it makes sense to me that back in the days pc's were mostly horizontal & so there was no "up" or "down". however, with all these vid card makes putting cool looking hsf's on the gpu's you'd think they might consider that no one can actually SEE them in the current configuration. funny how companies get stuck in ruts and just won't change, even when the old way doesn't make sense any more. the first guy to put the GPU on the top will be seen as a real maverick ... !

so, who at ATI/NVidia/etc can i contact to ask about this? seems like a great interview question!
 

gururu

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Jul 16, 2002
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Quote

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Originally posted by: tenoc
Less dust on GPU heatsink, fan, other components.

Dust falls down, not up. Most of the time.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Dust will go where the air current takes it when the computer is on and where gravity takes it when it is off.
 

zsouthboy

Platinum Member
Aug 14, 2001
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Originally posted by: joecool
Originally posted by: zsouthboy
Actually the reason PCI and AGP slots face downward is so you don't force them into an ISA slot(
huh? what keeps me from sticking a pci or agp card in an isa slot is that the connectors don't match up - it's got nothing to do with the orientation of the chips on the card (believe me, without realizing it i tried it once!)

You'd be amazed at what I've seen people do. Forced an AGP vid card into a PCI slot, backwards(so the connectors were facing inwards), and wonder why their "piece of crap" doesn't work.

zs

EDIT: forgot to say, yes the connectors don't match up, but the slot is physically not in line with the back panel, there's no way to force a PCI or AGP card in an ISA because it would be at an angle to the slot
 

merlocka

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Nov 24, 1999
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so, who at ATI/NVidia/etc can i contact to ask about this? seems like a great interview question!

Dude, no one is gonna change the ATX specification so geeks can look at thier Thermaltake's through a hole in the side of thier computer.
 

joecool

Platinum Member
Apr 2, 2001
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Originally posted by: merlocka
so, who at ATI/NVidia/etc can i contact to ask about this? seems like a great interview question! Dude, no one is gonna change the ATX specification so geeks can look at thier Thermaltake's through a hole in the side of thier computer.
ok, so the chances are low, but these guys are clearly designing the hsf's to LOOK cool as well as BE cool. surely they'd want them to actually be on the side of the card where they can seen?! i'm thinking someone who wants the enthusiast business will eventually realize this and flip the thing around ... so why not put the bug in their ear now?!
 

merlocka

Platinum Member
Nov 24, 1999
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ok, so the chances are low, but these guys are clearly designing the hsf's to LOOK cool as well as BE cool

No, these guys are trying to stay in business by differentiating their standard reference design product from the next guy's standard reference design product by putting a fancy colored chunk of metal on the top of the card so consumers will buy their koolaid rather than the next guys.
 

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